Box 3, Folder 4, Document 21

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Box 3, Folder 4, Document 21

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BILL OF RIGHTS
FOR
PUBLIC HOUSING TENANTS
I.
RIGHTS
Sec. 1 .
OF APPLICANTS FOR PUBLIC HOUSING
The Authority's application forms shall seek only such
i nformation as is pertinent, including the size of the household
unit, the income of that household unit and the need of that uni\
f or public housing.
Questions concerning the legal standing
or the marital status of members of the family, the legitimacy
of the children ih the family, the police record of members
o f the family and other such information, inciuding race or
r eligion, shall not appear on the application form, or be aske d
by any Authority employee.
Sec. 2.
Once the application form has been completed, an
a pplicant .shall be given a number
wldc h


i.ndicatea his chr ono l ogJ.-


cal place on the waiting list for the size apartment imecessary
f or his family, unless on the face of the application the family
is ine l igible because o f excess income or i s ineligible because
t h e applicant lives in decent housing and pays a rent he can
afford.
Sec. 3 .
,,_
For the purpose of determining initial eligibility,
all s tatements made on t he application are presumed to be true.
The Autho rity ma y ve rify income by communicating with an
applicant's employers, with the Department of Family and
Children' s Serv i ces, or wi th othe r income source s.
(a)
If t he Aut hori ty determine s tha t
de spite t h e statement given on the
application form t he person o r f amily
is ineligible for publi c hous i ng be c a use
of exce ss income or no need, the family
must be notified in writing with i n 30 days
following the date of the application of
�their ineligibility and the detailed reasons for it.
If the household unit is held to be ineligible and
wishes to challenge this determination, a hearing
shall be afforded.
This hearing shall comply with
the provisions of Part III hereof.
An applicant who demands a hearing may not be removed
from the waiting list until the Hearing Panel determines
the question of eligibility.
(b)
Any applicant not notifi~d that he is ineligible within
30 days arter the date of the application is deemed to
be eligible, and thereafter the Authority may not
challenge his eligibility urtless there is a substantial
change in the income of the family or the composition
of the household unit, or the Authority can demonstrate
that the applicant has moved to decent housing at a
rent he can afford.
Sec. 4.
Applicants shall be processed in strict chronological
order and no priority shall be given except those required by
Federal statutes and regulations adopted thereunder.
Sec. 5.
The Authority shall make available for inspection at
reasonable times and places the rent schedule in effect at all
projects under its
administration and the number of apartments
available in each project broken down by the size of apartmen~.
The Authority shall also make available for inspection the
general schedule of maximum income which will permit persons to
be eligible for admission to its projects.
The Authority s1iall
-make available for publiq inspection the. waiting list of
applicants.
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�Sec. 6.
When an a pplicant has bee n notified that he is
e l igi ble and t h at a n apartment is available, he shall be
permitted 3 0 days within which to accept or reject the
offered apartment .
II.
RIGHTS OF ~
Sec . 1.
S IN PUBLIC HOUS IOO
The lease shall be written in ciear concise language
ab l e to be understood by laymen of average intelligence.
Sec . 2 .
The signed lease does not in any way subtract from
any r i ghts of the tenant under the United States Constitution,
Federal and State. statutes, case law
or regulations promul-
gated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Sec. 3.
No lease, regulation or other written or o raJ
agreeme nt sha ll permit the tex~ni.nation o f a t:enancy on
grounds other than the following:
(a)
non-payment of rent;
(b) · commission of · active waste (physical
destruction) of the leased premises by
tenant;
(c)
tenant is over-income as determined by
the Housing Authority, except that eviction
shall not be permitted if eviction would
work extreme hardship on the family unit ;
(d)
substantial interference with other tenants ;
(e)
failure of resident to provide the Authority
with income statement within 30 days from
date of request.
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�Sec. 4.
The Authority shall not interfere directly or
indirectly with t he r ight of its tenants to free speech,
to organ ize o r t o seek redress of grievances.
No tenant
shall be e v i cted or otherwise penalized for engaging in
s uch ac tivity.
Se c .
5.
·1°h:: Authority
shall not interfere with the right
0 £ its tenants to quiet enjoyment of the premises, nor
shall the Authority infringe upon its tenants' right to
'! ' h.:? Authority
_p.a. i v a ...::y.
shall not enter the premises rented
by a tenant without the tenant is express permission, except
i n case of emergency.
Sec. 6.
Rent is defined as that sum of money expressly
provided for in the lease between the tenant and the
Authority.
The Authority is forbidden to levy any fin.es,
fees , or other financial sanctions upon tenants.
The cost
of repairs shall be charged to . a tenant only if the damage
was caused by the tenant's negligence, and such cost of
repairs shall be collectible only by a separate civi l action.
The Authority may not evict a tenant for failure to pay a
damage charge.
'l'he tenant shall not
he L·@sponsible for
ordinary wear and tear.
Sec. 7.
"'·
Where repairs are deemed necessary by a tenant, the
t enant or a tenant organization shall have the right to
s ubmi t a written or oral complaint to the Authority.
If the
complaint is oral, the responsible official of the Authority
$.MJll. reduce that:cocrmpla.blt -to ,q.n-J.-ti~,
%f the needed repair s
do not creat e an emergency {i.e., pose a threat to the
tenant's s afety or health) the Authority shall have 30 days
in which t o cons i der t he complaint and take appropriate
action; prov ided t hat r epa i rs to gas and electrical appl i ances
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�and e quipment and locks on outside doors must be made with.in
36 h o urs of the complaint.
If the Authority fails to act
with i n 36 hours on an emergency complaint, the tenant may
c ontr act pr ivately to have repairs made which will eliminate
the emergency conditions.
The tenant may reduce his rent
by the cost of repairs made to insure his health and safety.
Sec. 8.
Where repairs are deemed necessary by the Authority,
the tenant may make repairs at his own expense.
Sec. 9.
The Hearing Panel may invite the City housing
inspectors to inspect Authority premises in order to
determine the existence of housing Code violations.
The Authority hereby waives any immunity it may otherwise
possess with respect to the action of the City's housing
code inspectors.
Sec. 10.
Overall responsibility for rodent control and
maintenance of lawns, hallways, staircases and othe:x:- common
areas of the Project shall rest in the Authority.
It shall
bear all expenses for materials and labor and shall replace
t e nants' garbage receptacles in need of same.
Where regular
g a rba ge collection is insufficient to control infe station,
a dditional collections shall be made at the expense of the
Authority.
Sec . 11 .
The graded rent system, whereby a tenant is
charged a r e ntal which accor ds with his income, shal l be
applied uniformly .
Rent sha ll b e calculate d on the basis
of actual i ncome, and not possible, presumed or potential
income.
I ncome earned by a mi nor child s h a ll not be
considered as part o f the par ent ' s i ncome unless t he c hil d
actually contributes to the househo l d expe n ses.
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�Sec. 12.
Rent s h a ll be r edetermined ho more often than
once a year , with t he exception of "hardship rent . "
Where, duri ng t he course of a tenancy, a tenant undergoes
a serious r eduction in income, rent shall be reduced
immediate l y.
Such "hardship rent" shall then continue
until t he next annual redetermination, with the obligation
upon the tenant to report any restoration of original
income level during this period.
Sec. 13.
In any redetermination of income, temporary
income shall not be projected on an annual basis, unless
tenant's prior work history clearly indicates a pattern
of maintaining temporary jobs on a cbntinuous basis .
Children of the head of the household who are under the
age of 21 shall not be adjudged to be income-producing
unless the Housing Authority has actual evidence of
their employment.
Sec. 14.
Only a substantial increase or decrease in
family income shall bring redetermination procedures into
operation.
Such amount shall be no less than $400,
computed on an annual basis, or other basis if work is
temporary.
Sec . 15.
Decreases in rent shall be retroactive to the
beginning of the rent determination period.
Increases
i n r ent shall not be retroactive except in cases where
t he Hearing Panel _.finds that the tenant willfully concealed
info r mation .
.... ·
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�Sec. 16.
Any disputes regarding redetermination shall be
submitted to the Hearing Panel or other arbitration h oCTy.
The "reduced rent" concept, by which the tenant agrees
in advance to be bound by any increases (up to maximum
rent), shall be eliminated .
III.
THE RIGHT TO AN ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING AND DUE PROCESS
Sec. 1.
The Authority shall adopt and promulgate
regulations establishing policies for occupancy in public
housing.
The regulations shall give full consideration
to the right of tenants and rejected applicants to due
process of law.
Said regulations, which shall be
incorporated in all leases executed by the Authority,
shall be posted on all bulletin _boards within the
Project, and shall provide at least the following
minimum protections:
Sec. 2.
(a)
Notices
Every notice of eviction or other sanction
against a tenant and every rejection of a
tenant's application shall be typewritten,
signed by an official of the agency, and
mailed in a postage prepaid envelope addressed
to the tenant's apartment of residence in the
project, or, in the case of applicants, t he
address furnished with the application by
registered mail, return receipt requested.
(b)
The notice shall advise the tenant or applicant
of his right to a hearing on the action taken.
The notice shall further advise the tenant or
applicant in clear and precise language o f
the specific grounds for the action taken.
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�(c)
The notice shall further advise the
tenant of
his right to be represented
by legal counsel (including the address of
the 16cal. Legal Aid office) or by any other
person of his choosing at the hearing,
his right to demand that the Authority
pr6duce at the hearing any employee
whose testimony is alleged relevant.
A copy of the rules governing the conduct
of hearings shall be attached to the
Notice.
(d)
Every such notice shall issue within 5
days of a final decision by the Authority
on the application, eviction or complaint.
Sec~ 5.
Hearing Officers
a}
Hearings shall be conducted before a panel
of three officers:
one officer to be designated by the
Authority; one officer to be designated by the tenants
of the project, and one officer to represent the public,
to be designated by agreement of the other officers.
b)
The representative of the tenants shall be
elected by secret written ballot.
At least three weeks'
notice shall be given prior to each annual election
(except in the case of an election to replace a representative
for an unexpired term, in which case ten days' notice shall
suffice.)
The Authority shall provide a convenient polling
place, and establish convenient hours for balloting.
No. employee of the Authority shall be present at the polling
place.
Necessary supervision of the polling place shall be
conducted by a committee of persons appointed by the outgoing hearing officers.
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�Tenants shall be allowed to file a written
sealed ballot up to a period of 48 hours preceding the
election.
c)
All officers shall act in their ~espective
capacities for one year terms.
Elections shall be held
on a date exactly one year after the original election
unless otherwise agreed to by majority vote of the
tenants.
In the event of resignation or disability to
serve, the successor representatives shall be designated
within ten days of the effective date of said resignation
or disability, to serve as officers for the balance of
the respective ohe year terms.
An interim tenants'
representative shali be elected irt the manner prescribed
in sub-paragrqph (b).
d)
All officers shall be compensated out of the
Authority's funds at the rate of twenty-five dollars
for each .day of hearing service, or substantial portion
thereof.
e)
Each heqring officer shall serve for one month
as Chairman of the Hearing Panel.
At the end of each
calendar month, the Chairmanship shall pass to a different
officer.
Each officer shall serve four months during
each year as Chairman.
Sec. 6.
a)
Jurisdiction of the Hearing Panel
The panel shall have jurisdiction to decide issues
r e lating to evictions or other sanctions sought to be
imposed by the Authority; rent determinations: and complaints
by tenants against management personnel but not against other
tenants (unle ss such complaints against other tenants are
c onsidered as part of an eviction action under Section I (d)
of Part II of t his Bill of Rights).
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b)
The panel shall determine -whether -the -action
taken by management conflicts with the Housing Act, the
regulations of the Housing Assistance Administration, or
t he local Authority.
If the panel determines that a
confl ict exists, it shall order the Authority to dismiss
the notice of eviction, or order any other necessary and
appropriate relief .
In the event that the matter of issue does not
conflict with a specific provi$ion of the statute or
the regulations, the panel shall decide the case, in an
equitable manner, with the object of effectuating the
humane intent and purposes of the Housing Act of 1937, as
amended.
Sec. 7.
Conduct of Hearing
a)
Rights of Parties.
In any hearing held pursuant
to this .Section, any party shall have the right to appear,
to be represented by counsel or other person of his
choosing ; to call, examine, and cross-examine witnesses;
to introduce into the record documentary· or other evidence;
and t o present an opening statement and closing argument.
b)
Burden of Proof.
In any hearing involving an
e v i ction , rent determination or charges for damage to
property, the burden of proof shall be on the Housing
Authority to support its position by a fair preponderance
of the evidence .
In a h e aring involving any other issue
t he same burden of proof shall be on the party requesting
t he hearing.
The party having the burden of proof shall
present i ts c a s e first .
Sec . 8 .
Hearing Optional
a)
The h e a r ing proce dure provi ded herein shall be
deemed to be optional with t he t e nant or appl i c a nt .
Th e
tenant or appl i cant sha ll h ave the r i ght to re fuse a hearing
before the Hearing Panel and to seek in the firs t i nstance
Gnch relief as is available from th.e c ~nrts.
,.,, · ~}0 ._,
�.
'
b)
The hearing procedure provided herein shall be
deemed t o be mandatory on the Housing Authority.
The
Aut hority must utilize the hearing procedure in the first
ins tance and may only seek judicial review of decisions of
t he hear ing panel.
IV . TENANT ASSOCIATIONS
Sec. 1.
The local agency shall allow free access to
Community Centers in the various projects for any purpose,
provided that 5 tenants request permission to use the Center.
Sec . 2.
Management involvement in the formation and
operation of the tenant associations shall not be encouraged,
and management representatives may attend tenant association
meetings only by invitation of a majority of the association
members.
Sec. 3.
The extent of management involvement in the tenant
a ssoc i ation is a proper subject for review by the Hearing
Panel.
V.
TENANT PARTICIPATION IN MANAGEMENT
Sec . 1 .
Each project tenant association shall elect one
repr esentative to meet with the Authority, for the purpose
of adv ising the Aut hori ty as to the needs o f public housing
tenant s.
This advice shall include, but not be limited to,
plans f o r new construction, plans for mode rniz ation and
be a utification, de c is ions on rent colle c tions , maintenance
policies , s ocial servi c es , police relat ions and pest cont rol.
Sec. 2.
Tenant p articipation in manage me nt requires among
o ther things, that the manager be a f ull-time reside nt of
the pro j ect .
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